Busselton Margaret River Airport marketing fund top up

Last week the City of Busselton council agreed to top up its Airport Marketing Reserve with left over funds from its marketing budget.

The Airport Marketing Reserve is used towards promoting and providing incentives for the Busselton Margaret River Airport.

Incentives work to help entice airlines by offering concessions such as subsidising a route, paying for empty seats or discounting landing costs.

City of Busselton chief executive officer Mike Archer said incentives varied between airlines and the amount remained commercially confidential.

"We are hopeful that if required, an airline could operate a regular service utilising the existing terminal as a short-term arrangement while the new terminal is being constructed," he said.

"This [Airport Marketing Reserve] budget will largely be directed toward the marketing of the route once an airline has come on board."

If the draft budget for 2019/20 gains approval, $1.9 million could be allocated towards the reserve.

City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley said while no deal had been signed yet the city was in negotiations which could take anywhere from a month to six months or more before a deal was made.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia told the Mail airlines needed convincing to start a new route which had to be commercially viable.

"I am very supportive if there is interest from an airline to fly from the East Coast or seasonal flights, we would be happy to market and support that," he said.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said it was concerning the government were yet to provide any genuine effort to see this project succeed, in terms of providing effective marketing support.

"We know that regional aviation is a challenge, but the benefits are significant when it is achieved," she said.

"Not only has this government removed this project from the two year tourism strategy, but they have undermined the project at every step of the way as well."